Denis Naughten TD has said the blanket resignation of the appeals board for primary medical certificates for disabled drivers and passengers effectively means the vast majority of people with a disability are now marooned in their own homes.
At the end of last year, the members of the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal tendered their resignation to the Minister for Finance due to their frustration with the operation of the primary medical certificate scheme.
“Since changes in the operation of the scheme were introduced last year it effectively means that unless a person is without the use of both hands or both legs or has lost a limb, they will be refused the primary medical certificate,” stated Denis Naughten.
“When a disabled person eventually secures a primary medical certificate, after a tortuous process, it allows them to receive a reduction in VRT and VAT when purchasing or adapting a vehicle. It also exempts them from motor tax and tolls and offers a fuel grant.
“For many disabled people who have no access to public transport, this was the only assistance available to them to get around as the Motorised Transport Grant and Mobility Allowance were both suspended nine years ago.
“It is just not good enough that we now have three support schemes that allow people with a disability to live independently and get around, effectively suspended, for the majority of people with a disability who cannot access alternative transport.
“We are told that a review of transport services for people with a disability commenced in March 2020 under the auspices of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy, but we’ve no idea how long it will take to complete or if Government will even act on the recommendations that come from the review.
“And in the meantime, people with a disability are unable to take up employment or even engage within their own local community due to the lack of very basic independence,” concluded Denis Naughten.
Eligibility for Primary Medical Certificate
To qualify for a Primary Medical Certificate an applicant must be permanently and severely disabled, and satisfy at least one of the following medical criteria, in order to obtain a Primary Medical Certificate:
– be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs;
– be wholly without the use of one leg and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that the applicant is severely restricted as to movement of the lower limbs;
– be without both hands or without both arms;
– be without one or both legs;
– be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg;
– have the medical condition of dwarfism and have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.
The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme provides a range of tax reliefs linked to the purchase and use of specially constructed or adapted vehicles by drivers and passengers with a disability. The rules of the scheme are set out in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 (SI 353/1994) as amended. Under the scheme, you can claim:
- Remission or repayment of vehicle registration tax (VRT)
- Repayment of value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of a vehicle
- Repayment of VAT on the cost of adapting a vehicle
If you qualify for the scheme, you may get some additional exemptions and benefits including:
- An exemption from motor tax on the vehicle, see ‘How to apply’ below.
- An exemption from toll road fees, see ‘How to apply’ below.
- The fuel grant, see ‘Rates’ below.
To qualify for tax relief under the scheme, the person with a disability must have a valid Primary Medical Certificate. ISSUING OF CERTS EFFECTIVELY SUSPENDED EXCEPT THOSE MEETING THE VERY STRICT ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA in 2020
The Motorised Transport Grant is a means-tested Health Service Executive (HSE) payment for people with disabilities who need to buy a car in order to retain employment. This payment is also for people with disabilities who need to have a car or other vehicle adapted in order to enable them to drive and, as a result, earn a living. SUSPENDED in 2013
Mobility Allowance was a means tested monthly payment payable by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to people who are aged 16 and over and under age 66, and who have a disability and are unable to walk or use public transport and who would benefit from a change in surroundings; (for example, by financing the occasional taxi journey). SUSPENDED in 2013